6/12/02 - Breast Cancer Victims Lean on Their Husbands

Breast cancer is a devastating disease for women to battle, but it also takes a toll on their family. Many times, breast cancer patients lean on their husbands for support.

A little over two years ago Dr. Ed Masters had to break the terrible news to his wife, Jackie she had breast cancer. She was out of town when the results came in and he had to tell her on the phone. Since then she's been depending on her husband for support.

"I never really thought of having something happen to us as a unit, it was almost unthinkable," Dr. Masters says.

The unthinkable happened in April of 2000 when Dr. Masters found out his wife Jackie had breast cancer. Doctors found the cancerous tumor during a routine mammogram. Dr. Masters says, "I'm a physician, I'm used to being on the other side of the stethoscope. I would like to think I'm empathetic, but being there and it personally affecting you is a different world."

Jackie says, "His support was absolutely crucial to my healing process." A healing process that involved a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, all of that caused a lot of pain and fatigue. "He became my biggest cheerleader," Jackie says. "He was constantly telling me I could go through it and everything was going to be fine."

And everything is fine. Jackie hasn't had any reoccurences, and is happy to say she feels great. Now, she and her husband are focused on celebrating their 31st wedding anniversary with their four children. "Probably the greatest gift or blessing that a father could have would be to have a wife that's wonderful to their children," Dr. Masters says. "I think if you were to ask our children who's the best mother they would unanimously say Jackie."

The Masters can't stress enough that early detection is key. They want to encourage all women to do monthly self exams and to get yearly mammograms.